View Full Version : 10 egregious myths the religious perpetuate about atheists, debunked

Bos Mutus
04-21-2015, 03:38 PM
In a regular poll conducted by political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell on American political attitudes, atheists recently lost their spot as as the most disliked group in America (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/opinion/crashing-the-tea-party.html?_r=3) to the Tea Party. Still, number two is simply way too high in the unpopularity rankings for a group of people who just happen to spend Sunday mornings in bed instead of in church. Polling data shows that nearly half of Americans would disapprove if their child married an atheist (http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1786422&page=1) and nearly 40 percent of Americans don’t see atheists as sharing their vision of American society, numbers that outstripped similar prejudices toward Muslims and African Americans.Of course, the real reason atheists are so hated has little to do with jealousy for all their free time, but largely because most Americans are better acquainted with myths than with the realities of atheists’ lives. ...

With that in mind, here’s 10 of the ugliest myths about atheists, debunked:
1) There are no atheists in foxholes. There are many variations on this myth, but the basic idea behind it is that atheism is a luxury of the problem-free, and as soon as they feel fear or weakness, atheists will run straight into the arms of religion. This myth irritates atheists, because it tries to make a virtue out of preying on people’s weaknesses in order to sell them a lie. If you heard a marketer brag that he targets people who’ve been diagnosed with terminal illnesses because they’re easier targets, or a guy say he likes to cruise funerals because grieving women are easier to pick up, you’d think that person had no morals at all. ....

2) Atheists are just angry with God. Atheists often point out the logical inconsistencies of many religious beliefs—such as the belief both that God is all-good and all-powerful, but he somehow also allows evil to exist—and believers use that to conclude that atheists are angry with God. We aren’t. You can’t be angry with a being that you don’t believe exists. I’m no angrier with God than I am angry with Zeus or the aliens that keep kidnapping drunks sleeping in their cars. Anger with religions for promoting false beliefs isn’t the same thing as being angry at the being that believers invented.

3) Atheists are aggressive and rude. This myth has been around in various forms for a long time, but it really took off after the rise of “New Atheism,” which focuses its energy on disproving religious claims instead of merely pleading for tolerance of atheists. This myth only persists because belief is unconsciously privileged over atheism, causing people to believe it’s somehow ruder for an atheist to say, “I don’t believe in God and here’s why” than for a believer to intrude in your personal space with pamphlets, attack people when they’re feeling low with religious claims, knock on your door to proselytize, or force your children to recite religious language in school. Objectively speaking, believers commit transgressions against good manners far more than atheists. But atheist arguments tend to disturb believers more than arguments for God disturb atheists, so atheists get an unfair reputation for being rude, even when they are merely outspoken or unapologetic.
4) Atheism is a white dude thing. It’s easy if atheism makes you uncomfortable to write off atheism as the hobbyhorse of a tiny minority of men with overly high opinions of their own intelligence. That men such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins get most of the media attention devoted to atheism only reinforces this myth. If you scratch the surface, however, you’ll see that the ranks of outspoken atheists have far more women that the media would let on. Atheist blogger Jen McCreight grew so tired of this myth that she compiled an extensive list (http://www.blaghag.com/2010/01/large-list-of-awesome-female-atheists.html) of prominent female atheists ...

5) Atheism is just a faith like any other. You occasionally see agnostics trot this one out, as well. The idea is that arguments for and against the existence of any gods have equal value, but it’s simply not true. The logical position toward an extraordinary, supernatural claim is skepticism until proof is offered, and so far none of the thousands of gods that have been claimed to exist throughout history have lifted a finger to prove themselves. In fact, most believers grasp this for themselves; they automatically disbelieve all religious claims except their own, barring actual proof that never produces itself. Atheists just do religious people one better, and make no exceptions for a religion because it happens to be the one we were raised in or convinced by friends to convert to.
I always flinch in embarrassment for the believer who trots out, “Atheism is just another kind of faith,” because it’s a tacit admission that taking claims on faith is a silly thing to do. When you’ve succumbed to arguing that the opposition is just as misguided as you are, it’s time to take a step back and rethink your attitudes.

6) Atheists don’t have a moral code. Atheist are routinely asked how people will know not to rape and murder without religion telling them not to do it, especially a religion that backs up the orders with threats of hell. Believers, listen to me carefully when I say this: When you use this argument, you terrify atheists. We hear you saying that the only thing standing between you and Ted Bundy is a flimsy belief in a supernatural being made up by pre-literate people trying to figure out where the rain came from. This is not very reassuring if you’re trying to argue from a position of moral superiority.

7) Atheist lives are bleak and lack meaning. Those in the atheist activist community find this one particularly insipid, because we so often deal with people who suffered religious abuse and were only able to find peace by abandoning religion. There’s really no reason to believe that happiness and fulfillment come from a supernatural place, or else believers would have no need for fulfilling work, loving families, friends, and hobbies, since their spiritual beliefs would suffice. Most atheists actually find our lack of belief in a supernatural being makes it easier to fill our lives with meaning and joy. Since we don’t believe in an afterlife, many of us find ourselves more motivated to make the most out of the time we do have instead of looking to the next life to make us happy.

8) Atheists are hedonists who don’t understand the true meaning of love. As an open reproductive rights supporter, I’ve certainly faced my share of believers accusing me of being an atheist so I can simply indulge my sexual appetites and avoid some abstract true meaning of love. It is true that one of the benefits of being an atheist is that you’re no longer crippled by religious phobias that assume that sexual fulfillment and real love are mutually exclusive, but that certainly doesn’t mean atheists don’t feel genuine love. I suspect some Christians enjoy making high-minded claims about feeling deeper love because they know there’s no way to measure their claims. But the higher divorce rates in more religious states don’t bode well for claims that sexual purity and Christianity make love deeper and truer.
9) Atheists have no way to cope after losing loved ones without the belief in an afterlife. The belief that religion has sole ownership over death is so ingrained that it often causes believers to behave in inappropriate ways toward grieving atheists, using the occasion of a loved one’s death to try to coax us into taking up religion. Some believers who do this are openly predatory, but some mean well, and simply can’t imagine how atheists cope without telling ourselves pretty stories about an afterlife. Atheists have every right to be skeptical of the argument that belief in the afterlife quiets the pain of grief. After all, many religions teach that the dead person could be burning forever in hell, which can cause far more anxiety than relief.
I imagine the nothingness of death is much like the nothingness that existed before birth. Believing in the afterlife seems to have more to do with the egos of the living than concerns about the dead, and by letting go of the need to make the end of someone else’s life about your own fears of death, many atheists can focus on working through the grief in a healthy way. So please, believers, don’t use the death of loved ones as an opportunity to proselytize.

10) Atheists are out to destroy Christmas. It’s September and so this myth is relatively quiet, but it tends to come out every year after Halloween, to accompany Christmas decorations going up. For Fox News, ratcheting fears about a “war on Christmas” has replaced caroling as the annual holiday ritual. It’s all very silly. Atheists don’t oppose ritual or holidays. Most atheists in America tend to see Christmas as a mostly secular holiday celebrating family that can be turned into a completely secular holiday with a few minor tweaks. ...

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2015/04/21/10_egregious_myths_the_religious_perpetuate_about_ atheists_debunked_partner/

Just sharing...I had to edit some stuff out due to forum posting guidelines on length, for the entire piece click the link

04-21-2015, 03:39 PM
Just sharing...I had to edit some stuff out due to forum posting guidelines on length, for the entire piece click the link

You could also break it into two posts if it was too long.

04-21-2015, 05:14 PM
And the one myth that can't be debunked is that people who write lists like this one are pretentious and aren't about defending their atheism as much as they are at putting down religion. The mention of Fox News, the phrase "logical inconsistencies", "crippled by religious phobias", etc, are just annoying and argumentative.

My list:

I'm not "crippled by religious phobias", I choose to live my life a certain way...not from fear...but from hope and expectation. I'm not afraid of the punishment, I'm excited about the reward.

I don't see your "logical inconsistencies" as logical. Nothing pointed out here is anymore "inconsistent" than evolution or the big bang. What I will admit is that religion, for the most part, is not based in logic. Faith is about belief.

Rusty Jones
04-21-2015, 06:27 PM
And the one myth that can't be debunked is that people who write lists like this one are pretentious and aren't about defending their atheism as much as they are at putting down religion.

Well, at least you agree that it's a myth. It's a start.

04-21-2015, 07:43 PM
I am curious where the 'debunking' comes in. I see a statement followed by editorial content, repeat 10 times.

Don't really have a problem with editorials but at least they should meet the goal set in the headline.

Of course it is from Salon.

04-21-2015, 07:44 PM
Well, at least you agree that it's a myth. It's a start.

I don't think you made the point you were going for there Rusty.

04-21-2015, 08:26 PM
Well, at least you agree that it's a myth. It's a start.

Ohhhhhhhh.....you got me on that oooooonnnnnneeeee......oh dear.

04-22-2015, 02:22 PM
Of course the only problem with this particular article is the hostility of the author. It's obvious to the reader that the author has a problem with Religion and/or Religious people. While the author is trying to be subtle, she fails at it. She loses all credibility in the article because she attacks religion / religious personnel in it. While she doesn't do so directly, she does it through her tone and "snide" comments on religion.

She is a prime example of why religious people have a problem with Athiests.

Additionally, she offers no actual evidence of debunking in this article. She merely provides some of her opinion and claims that religious people act a certain way, while acting the same way she accuses religious people of acting. She doesn't provide any stats. I'll give here that some religious people act the way she says, but so do Atheists.

This is a poor article at best.

04-22-2015, 07:52 PM
Just sharing...I had to edit some stuff out due to forum posting guidelines on length, for the entire piece click the link

Salon.com. Probably the most leftist website on the internet.